Although it may seem unlikely, you can actually spend your time backpacking in Singapore. There are many attractions that has low budget cost to actually free, making cheap traveling in Singapore is possible. One of such places in Singapore is the renowned Merlion Park in Marina Bay and it is always the first stop every travelers must visit while spending their time in Singapore.
Located in Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Road, Singapore, you can easily reach Merlion Park by walking along the riverfront from Raffles Place MRT Station. Exit towards United Overseas Bank (UOB) Plaza, or if you are confused then refer to the map in the station for more details. From the middle of the plaza, you’ll see Fullerton Hotel. Merlion Park is immediately behind it.
Merlion Park is famous as it is the place where Singapore’s most iconic mythical creature is, the Merlion. The Merlion was first designed as an emblem for the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (STPB) in 1964 – the lion head with a fish body resting on a crest of waves quickly became Singapore’s icon to the rest of the world.
Designed by Mr Fraser Brunner, a member of the souvenir committee and a curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium, the lion head represents the lion spotted by Prince Sang Nila Utama when he re-discovered Singapura in 11 AD, as recorded in the “Malay Annals”. The fish tail of the Merlion symbolises the ancient city of Temasek, meaning “sea” in Javanese by which Singapore was known before the Prince named it “Singapura”, meaning “lion” (singa) “city” (pura) in Sanskrit, and represents Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village.
Measuring 8.6 metres high and weighing 70 tonnes, the Merlion statue was built from cement fondue by the late Singapore craftsman, Mr Lim Nang Seng. A second and smaller Merlion statue, measuring two metres high and weighing three tones, was also built by Mr Lim. The body was made of cement fondue, the skin from porcelain plates and eyes from small red teacups.
The icon has taken on a life of its own since then, being a popular place to snap a few pictures. Besides that, in the local “Singlish” slang, “to merlion” means “to throw up”, where it refers to the spout that ejects from the Merlion statue, and thanks to its redundant piping, the Merlion never stops “merlioning”.
The Merlion statue stands in a 2,500 square meter park beside the Singapore River, adjacent to One Fullerton and the historic Fullerton Hotel. A viewing deck stands ready to accommodate up to 300 people who want to survey the Merlion and the surrounding skyline. Boat passengers can also disembark here, thanks to a boat landing point near the statue. The area also comprises a promontory with terraced seating, and a viewing deck to hold up to 300 people as well as a boat landing point that allows visitors to disembark from river taxis. The viewing deck provides photographers with unrivalled vistas of the Merlion against the city skyline and the scenic Marina Bay, including landmarks such as The Fullerton Singapore and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.